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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  February 8, 2014 2:00am-4:01am EST

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at the cost of who we are as a nation of people who cherished privacy and freedom, celebrate diversity, carry our flag at the olympics and are not afraid. thank you very much. thank you for listening to me. [applause] >> i got teared up as i think others did by the close of your speech, mr. secretary. let's remember that most of this room, everyone in this room are sons and daughters, spouses, many are parents. on that day on 9/11, many of us knew people who perished of people who were at risk and suffered with a scar that in
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some ways will never heal. i'm going to ask you some questions in a friendly manner. we know you were born on 9/11. i'm told you wanted to be a subway conductor in new york city when you grew up. >> that is my next life. i will be a subway motor man on the number seven train. >> in case you don't know this, the new york subways are protected to a substantial extent by dhs assets. look at this. your background is assistant u.s. attorney and a guy who has a lots of experience in the department of defense.
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what equips you now to take on this awesome responsibility to be be principal spokesman for our u.s. counterterrorism policy? >> i lead a terrific organization of men and women in the people that are there as leaders. i think we will be doing a terrific job in the next couple of years. the department of defense, a lot of people ask me if dod is like dhs, are they different? how are they different? it is essentially a military organization. dhs has people in uniform. we have the coast guard. for the most part dhs as a civilian organization. it is a different culture. like the department of defense,
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it is a lars decentralized organization with components who are capable of running themselves. while i was at dod, i the privilege of working with two terrific secretaries of defense, bob gates and leon panetta. i was part of their management team. i saw them a decisions. when you are the general counsel you have purview over the entire department of defense unlike almost everybody else. i was part of the management team. helped solve a lot of problems. i was involved in a number of difficult issues. as remarked, it involved national security. i came back to government in february 2009. i have been the eyewitness to many historic events that occurred and were involved in some of the decision-making here
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in washington. i would say that the thing that comes to mind first when you ask a question like that is i have a passion for the mission. i left government a year ago thinking i was done and was settling back into private life. the president asked me if i would do this job. it ever occur to me that i would be sitting here, that i would be asked to do this job. i have a passion for the mission. i believe deeply in the mission. i want to serve the country. that is why i am here. >> good answer. >> i have to get my own shot out to suzanne spaulding was the director of the national commission on terrorism formed by congress in 1999. it is one of three groups that predicted a major attack on u.s. soil. i was part of that group. people started to pay attention.
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she is very well trained for the mission. as are many other people who work with you. since i mentioned congress, let's talk about congress. >> i love congress. [laughter] >> good start. >> i do. nobody believes me. >> you'll get a lot of opportunity to do that. >> the other day i was on the hill. i said let's do some drive-bys. let's stop often see friends of mine. are you sure? don't we make appointments? we can do that. i just stopped to say happy new year. it is relationship building.
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members of congress that i know and respect. >> i'm pleased to hear you say that. when michael chertoff was the director, he would routinely invite me as the chairman of a subcommittee down here for breakfast. we would talk about issues. we formed a professional relationship which developed into a friendship. i know you are having fun. it is a fact of that 100 committees and subcommittees of the united states congress, this is not an exaggeration. they have some piece of the homeland security mission. i think of is on the national journal cover and look like a where's waldo picture. it showed all the different jurisdictions. the 9/11 commission was a member of that recommended a number of wings which congress did in the president did except there is
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one glaring gap. that gap was to reorganize congress in a way that would streamline the homeland mission. you are going to get numerous requests to testify across the board. that is one issue in terms of the time sap for you. the other way is when you are a member of congress, you want to do something legislatively. pick one. reduction of overclassification of materials. you are on a committee. they have a piece of jurisdiction but not the whole thing. it is very frustrating from congress' end to do something. for sure you have thought about this. how are you personally going to navigate this?
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>> i do nothing it should simply be get off my back. there are a lot of people interested in the homeland security mission on both sides who ask how can i help, how can i work with you? how can i support your mission? pardon my remarks this morning was to try to answer that in the cyber security world by spelling out the legislative priorities. some of them might have a better chance of passing than others. i did want to spell out what i think the legislative goals of the cyber security mission should be. there are a lot of committees and subcommittees who have a piece of the department. as you know, committees do not often seek jurisdiction. very protective about that.
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at least in the beginning i want to build relationships on the hill. at some point we will have to have a discussion about realigning the jurisdiction of congress. it does require a lot of time and attention by the secretary and the senior leadership to go back and forth in response to committee testimony or individual visits. that is time that is useful, valuable time for a senior leader. i do find it useful to know what is on the minds of members of congress. the confirmation process is what it is. i have a relatively good experience. it is an opportunity to find out what is on their mind. there are a number of very thoughtful members of congress
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who are embedded in these issues, who gave me a lot of insight in that process. you are right. there is a tremendous amount of oversight. it needs to be realigned at some point. i will ask our colleagues on the hill to help. >> it will help. there are many good people who serve on capitol hill on both parties. the business model needs a lot of work. the committee structure is from the 19th century. there are opportunities, especially if you invest personally in changing at least some of the dynamic. let's just move to cyber security. you carefully identified issues in your remarks. last year congress tried hard but failed to pass cyber
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security legislation. >> 2012. >> two years ago. most people think that we are enormously vulnerable to cyber threats. the private sector basically controls at least 85% of our cyber systems. a lot of them have to do with critical infrastructure. the president issued an executive order which goes part way toward solving some of the critical problems of aligning the private and public sector. how urgent do you think it is to pass legislation? how can you as the leader of the homeland department over, what was one of the huge objections before, the private sector did not have confidence that homeland had the capacity to handle its risk possibilities on cyber?
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>> it is not a cyber security threat. it is a cyber security ongoing series of attacks are different sources on banks, substations, a mill services -- e-mail services to a different degree of intensity. it is no longer just a threat. i think the key aside from the help congress can give us are breaking down barriers, building trust with the private sector. i'm developing ideas with what business groups, what private sector entities we should go to.
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i think it is also a talent search. i think the resources, the talents are there, particularly among our young people, and graduate schools, people who are just out of school. we were talking earlier about the cyber talent that exists in the military. military recruits from a very early age. the military is very good at identifying those within the ranks who have a cyber security talent and bringing them into the cyber security world. we had to build that holland from either with in our civilian workforce or tracked from the private sector. part of my job in the cyber security realm will be to look for ways to attract private talent. i know it is there. >> would it also help for better management for the department as
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a whole? it is a huge task to integrate the cultures of 22 different agencies and departments. if you had better management to mirror the good management and many private sector firms, could that help instill confidence? the big objection two years ago was it is not a well-managed department. this was the objection. we are wary of cooperation with its. >> i want not disagree with the. -- i won' disagree with you. when you talk about cyber security, we have an office within dhs headquarters. there are components also have a cyber security mission. for example, the secret service. it is into cyber security. secret service is very involved right now in the effort regarding the target stores.
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i think that one of the keys to answer the dilemma is visible leadership. good leadership but also visible leadership. good leaders bringing in good leaders. we have to be fairly transparent to become familiar with the private sector to become familiar with the public so that we build trust. that is one of the reasons we're here today. >> do you have plans to get out and about? i know you said you have traveled to the southern border. >> we are working on redeveloping some ideas right now. in all parts of the country. >> turning to a few other issues. first on the homeland threats, one of the things that was clear
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to me when i was in the roles i had in congress was how important the mission of vertical information sharing was to the department. it is not just a role played here in federal government land sharing information among the federal agencies. it is getting information down to first responders who could be police you also could be private citizens who smell something strange in the house next door or something weird anywhere. that mission is going much better. i am looking at charlie allen who at one point was the head of the intelligence function. we talked a lot about this. one of the improvement i think that congress insisted on was setting up something called the inter-agency risk assessment and coronation group. it was a teach for america group of state and local law enforcement folks who would come
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temporarily to the department of homeland security and the national counterterrorism center, which was created just about at the same time. they would advise on what the bulletins should look like that go vertically from the department of homeland security down to first responders so that first responders could understand what to look for and what to do. are you aware of these outreach efforts? do you think they need support? >> absolutely. i think that given the evolving terrorist threat which is becoming more decentralized, more diffuse, less of a traditional al qaeda or al qaeda like command control structure,
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we have to be more concerned about homegrown threats, the lone wolf, the person who self radicalizes. that is going to require that we continue to build relationships with first responders. in the boston marathon bombing, it was a perfect illustration of this. we need as a department in a federal government to build relationships with state and local law enforcement and government. the federal government cannot be everywhere. the fbi, the department of
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homeland security cannot the everywhere. that is critically important. that is something i hope to advance over the next couple of years here you are also correct that homeland security is a team effort that involves the public. we do not want to scare people. we do not want to take people. annoyed. it involves public participation. that can result in very constructive, positive things if there is public awareness about what is in the trash container at the bus terminal or what is in a backpack that was left at the gate or something like that. if people are willing to note a suspicious package and report
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it to the nearest aviation security person or law enforcement officer. that can have a tremendous effect. we all hope it never gets that far. public participation is critical. we never get to the point where innocent civilians have to take matters into their own hands to save their own lives. do,your secretary had to >> as your secretary had to do, such a compelling story. part of that is building trust with the public. it is a function i think you as the counterterrorism spokesperson have but so do local police departments. there have been very successful outreach efforts in minneapolis improvement of folks in al- shabaab. in loss angeles with the sheriff's department has had some very good cooperation with the muslim community. it is not only the muslim community that has problems.
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if you something -- see localing at the supermarket, you think saying something to law enforcement or just -- or the fbi to somebody who will get the information where it needs to go is inappropriate thing to do. >> that is correct. the i went on my trip to southwest border, i spent a lot of time meeting with mayors and and policeiffs chiefs for exactly this reason. it, we need to continue to emphasize that this is a collective effort that involves multiple levels of government and the public. >> moving to
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border security, you mentioned comprehensive immigration reform. , inlmost passed congress case anyone remembers this, in 2007. president bush very courageously , michaelrd a proposal chertoff was heartbroken when the bill failed. aw the senate has passed comprehensive immigration reform bill. those conversation in the house that the house version might be different. you commended the congress in your remarks for the effort it is making. there is a news, comment from house speaker john boehner that it may not happen this year. greatk it will be a disappointment to many communities across our country who were hoping it will and to our efforts to rebuild our economy after the most serious recession since the great depression.
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do to persuade john of steps he might take in this election year to get this thing back on the right track? he was one of the one for said he wanted to make this happen. >> i do not have a crystal ball. there are people who talk to the speaker about this and other issues. i am sure he is getting no shortage of advice right now. in 2014ope will happen is that there is an emerging, evolving realization that this should not be politics. this is a problem that we have in this country that needs to be fixed. of us here in washington who represented the american public ought to do what we need
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to do to fix the problem. everybody agrees we have a problem with immigration, with enforcement and administration of our immigration laws. everybody knows we have millions of undocumented immigrants in the country. are not going away. they're not going to sell the poor. i do not know exactly what the statistic is. 80% of these people have been in this country for years. to either 2004, 2008, something like that. they're here. they're not going away. from my homeland security perspective, i would rather encourage them to come forward, the accountable, pay whatever taxes and fines they owe, go through the background check, and if they are able to, , i think it is a 13
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, get to a path to citizenship if they are able to do so. we need to deal with this problem. that, and i really do see the signs for this. i thought that was a very thoughtful statement of principles of the speaker and other spent a lot of time thinking about. i do not know to what extent it has the widespread the port in the republican caucus. they are identifying a problem that we have in this country and seeks to address it. that is a very positive step to see both major parties recognize that we are to deal with this. a message that i would like to convey and emphasize is that from the homeland security perspective this is something we
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need to do because of the added resources that commonsense immigration reform provides an so that we can encourage people is notaccountable, which giving them a pass in some way. it is encouraging them to get right with the law. for my homeland security perspective, i hope people in congress and government will finally wrestle with this problem and we can deal with it. questionre comment and on this. i think the right term is "earned legalization." people have to go through a lot of hurdles in the get in the back of the line and 13 years law passes it this they can become citizens. as sayingr was quoted the american people do not trust the reform we are talking about it was implemented as
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intended to be. should people trust you and your department to implement the current law? >> we've already begun thinking if the legislation that is contemplated in various different forms it comes law, we will have to implement it. we have complimented the limitation. it is not like it will happen tomorrow. it will happen over years. we are beginning to think about what we need to do to get ready for this. this is an advanced planning whateffort to anticipate the department needs to do, when and if this legislation passes. we will have comprehensive immigration reform. and you have a crystal ball on the timetable -- i do not have a crystal ball on the timetable.
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i believe it will pass. i am assuming it will pass. i am optimistic. we need to prepare for it. we are he started that process. you mentioned syria. you said syria has become a matter of homeland security. you did amplify that, it a bit. i think the audience might be interested in any additional comments you want to make about why syria has become a matter of common security. -- homeland security. over theave stated last couple of days, we are concerned about the foreign fighters going into syria who are leaving syria. they are encountering all sorts of radical extremist influences there. we need to be concerned about that. to it as a i refer
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matter of homeland security. it is not just this country. our european allies are very concerned about this issue. collectively we are determined to do something about it. i think people do need to understand that there is a variety of terror groups in seyria. some of them have expressed a desire to to train fighters in syria to attack fighters in the west. it is a threat to people being radicalized here, moving to syria, conducting terror acts there and in coming back here. towe need to do our best take close attention to any
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balding situation. >> you were very careful in the way you talked about self radicalization. audiencexperts in this who have studied radicalization carefully. tryat the think some of us to do in congress was create a multidisciplinary commission to advise congress on what the someone who has radical views which are protected by our constitution, turning into someone who is prepared to engage in violent acts which are a crime and finding that nexus. in the last minute it became controversial. at least in my opinion. a hallmark of some of these homegrown lone wolf type as they have clean records.
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violente not created acts before. many are on the internet looking at sites on how to build bombs. there is a lot on the internet there. some of them also intersect people either in our country or travel abroad who most think it takes human intervention. this is the focus. how should the american public think about this? i wanted to convey the answer to that question in my remark. governments, first responders, law
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enforcement in local communities in to be vigilant. we are building that he read we are building those relationships. because of the -- of that. we are building those relationships. because of the nature, we risk reading suspicion, fear among people about those that are different from them. that was really the purpose of the last part of my remarks. thinkinge charged with about homeland security, whether state homelandhe security adviser to the governor or police commissioner, you can build walls. you can build something that is so secure that you make everybody. knowledge. you deprive people -- you make everybody paranoid. you deprive people of the basic freedoms this country is all
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about. we cannot do this. it is a delicate balance. do we have to writit right now? probably not. a basic responsibility for those of us charged with homeland security and law enforcement and national security is to find that right balance and to be sensitive to it. we can go too far. there are instances where we have done that. we need to be mindful of that insensitive to it. >> in my opening remarks, i commended you for your speech on whichnamo and on drones got a lot of attention and was a very courageous act for someone in the general counsel. you say in the name of homeland security we cannot sacrifice our values as a nation.
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we can install more screening devices and make people suspicious of each other but not at a cost of us as a nation. it is notve that enough just to take out guys, although sometimes we must do that. very courageous people have very carefully try to do that. dohave to win the argument you agree with that? >> i do.
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things i said the at the oxford union. we have to be sensitive to our actions. one of the things i think we will do, and i think we have begun this process, one of the things we will do is develop how we can adjust this issue in the homeland. to the to be sensitive fact that there are people who, while they live in this country, hate this country. they want to do harm to others who feel disassociated and disconnect it and are influenced
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by forces beyond our control. address thery to audience in some way or another to get at this exact issue. i want to begin thinking about this issue. we have arty started developing ideas for how we can go about the living a better job for that. >> i personally commended that thought. i want to underscore the last part of the last sentence. we are a nation of people who cherish privacy and freedom, celebrate diversity, carry our flag at the olympics and are not afraid. statement ofyour our values as a country is a big piece of your job. if you are to become and you will become the face of warning
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about the terror threat it will be wonderful if you're also the face of reassurance that our country will survive this. we will be resilient. said you're going to boston on the anniversary of the marathon bonding. there was a place where a horrible thing happened but a community pulled together very quickly and never lost its stride. we do not do it that well on 9/11. we did it that well in boston. boston is strong. i would hope that those are , not just can learn we the people listening on the , but that we can learn the department of homeland security can learn and can teach and can help inspire others to teach. i would just like to close this
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event i would just like to close this event which i think has been a wonderful honor for the wilson center. and an example of the kinds of things we do here. when john brennan was a terror adviser in the white house came to talk here. >> i was sitting right there. >> it was a wonderful event, was it not? yes, it was. as we close this event, let me just offer you the last word to any last thought you had. >> parting shots. thank you again for your leadership. thank you for bringing me here. thank you for your mentorship and support. this is a terrific organization. it is educational. it is sober. it is a place for thoughtful,
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intelligent discussion. >> it is nonpartisan. >> and it is non-partisan. when you talk about national and homeland security, it should not be partisan. i believe that fervently. thank you for the terrific work you do here. i'm sure i will see you again. >> i thank you. the terrorists are not going to check the party registration before they blow us up. we should focus on this as a country. thank you coming as an american to talk about a challenge as an american. >> thank you. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014]
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>> on the next "washington nelson schwartz talks about the role of the middle class in the u.s. economy. then usa today crime reporter and substancen abuse across the u.s. and what the government is trying to do about it. "washington journal" live at 7 a.m. eastern on c-span. president obama signed the farm bill today at an event hosted by michigan state university in east lansing. the bill is projected to save billions of dollars over the next decade. it ends some forms of direct
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payment to farmers and insurance to crops. several democratic lawmakers join the president at the event, including the agricultural committee chaired debbie stabenow. this is about 40 minutes. [" hail to the chief" plays] [applause] >> hello, spartans! oh, thank you so much. everybody have a seat. it's good to be in michigan state. for that, ben,
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wonderful introduction. give him a wonderful round of applause. [applause] his beautiful family right here. how was data, pretty good? yeah, he did good? i thought he did great. it is good to be in east lansing, good to be with all of you here today. heardre because i have about all of the great things you are doing, and i want to thank mayor triplett and president simon for hosting us. i am also here to do some scouting on my bracket. [laughter] i just talked to coach izzo. the spartans are looking pretty good. i know that things were a little wild for a while, had some injuries, but the truth is that coach izzo, he always paces so that you peek right at the tournament. that's a fact. [applause]
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meet mark a chance to dantonio. [applause] so we already have a rose bowl victory. guys -- you're greedy. [laughter] you want to win everything. but it's wonderful to be here. i love coming to michigan. mainly i love coming to michigan because of the people. but i also love coming here because there are few places in the country that better symbolize what we have been through together over these last 4, 5 years. the american auto industry has always been the heartbeat of the michigan economy and the heart of american manufacturing. so in that heart it was flatlining, we all pulled together, all of us, autoworkers
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who punched in on the line, management who made tough decisions to restructure, elected officials like gary peters and mark charro who believe that -- [applause] that rescuingeve america's most iconic industry was the right thing to do. and today, thanks to your great and ingenuity and dogged american auto the industry engines are roaring again, and we are building the best cars in the world again, and some plants are running three shifts around the clock. something that nobody would have imagined just a few years ago. [applause] i just had lunch with detroit's new mayor, mike duggan. [applause] he told me if there is one thing he wants everybody to know, it's that detroit is open for business, and i have great confidence that he is going to
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provide the leadership that you need. proud of him. all had tos, we have buckle down. we have all had to work hard, fight our way back these past five years. in a lot of ways, we are now better positioned for the 21st century than country on earth. this morning, we learned our businesses and the private sector created more than 140,000 jobs last month, adding up to about 8.5 million new jobs over the past four years. unemployment is the lowest it has been since i was first elected. companies across the country are saying they will hire more folks in the days ahead. this is why i can believe this will be a breakthrough year for america. i have come here to sign a bill that hopefully means folks in washington feel the same way.
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instead of wasting time creating crises that impede the economy, we're going to have a congress that is ready to spend some time creating new jobs and new opportunities and positioning us for the future and making sure our young people can take advantage of that future. that is important because even though our economy has been growing for four years now, even though we have been adding jobs for four years now, what is still true, something that was true before the financial crisis and is still true today is that those at the very top of the economic pyramid are doing better than ever. but the average american's wages, salaries, incomes have not risen in a very long time. a lot of americans are working harder and harder just to get
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by, much less get ahead, and that has been true since long before the financial crisis and the great recession. so we have got to reverse those trends. we have got to build an economy that works for buddy, not just a few. we have to restore the idea of opportunity for all people, the idea that no matter who you are what you look like or where you came from, how you started out, what your last name is, you can make it if you want to work hard and take responsibility. that is the idea of the heart of this country, that is what is at stake and that is what we have got to work on. [applause] the opportunity agenda i laid out in my state of the union address will help us do that. it is an agenda built around for parts, number one, more new jobs. american manufacturing and energy and american innovation. american technology. a lot of what you're doing here at michigan state helps to spur on that innovation in all sorts of areas that can then be
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commercialized into new industries and to create new jobs. number two, training folks with the skills to fill those jobs. something this institution does very well. number three, guaranteeing access to a world-class education for every child, not just some. [applause] that has to be a priority. that means before they even start school, we are working on pre-k that is high-quality and gets our young people prepared and takes them all the way through college so they can afford it and beyond. therefore, making sure our economy rewards honest work with wages you can live on. and savings you can retire on. and, yes, health insurance that is there for you when you need it. [applause]
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some of this opportunity agenda i put forward will require congressional action. it is true. as i said at the state of the union, america does not stand still, neither will i. that is why over the past two weeks i have taken steps without legislation, without congressional action to expand opportunity for more families. we have created a new way for workers to start their own retirement savings, we have helped to make sure all of our students have high-speed broadband and high-tech learning tools that they need for this new economy. i have also said i am eager to work with congress wherever i can. the truth of the matter is america works better when we are working together and congress controls the purse strings at the federal level and a lot of the things we need to do require congressional action, and that
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is why i could not be prouder of our leaders who are here today. in particular, could be -- could not be prouder of your own debbie stabinow for her extraordinary work. [applause] we all love debbie for a lot of reasons. she has been a huge champion of american manufacturing, but shepherded through this farm bill which was a very challenging piece of business. she worked with republican senator thad cochran who was constructive in this process. we have representatives frank lucas working with collin peterson. we have a terrific contribution from our own secretary of agriculture, tom vilsack, who deserves a round of applause.
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congress passed a bipartisan farm bill that is going to make a big difference in communities all across this country. i want to recognize one of your congressmen who is doing an outstanding job. and somebody who was just a wonderful mentor to me when i was in the senate, a great public servant not just for your state but for the entire country, carl levin. he is always out there especially when it comes to our men and women in uniform. we are very proud of him. [applause] while we're at it, we have a couple of out-of-towners. pat leahy from vermont.
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there are a lot of dairy farms up there. and from minnesota. all that cold air is blowing from minnesota down into -- despite its name, the farm bill is not just about helping farmers. secretary volsack calls it a jobs bill, and innovation bill. infrastructure bill. a research bill. a conservation bill. it is like a swiss army knife. it is like mike trout, for those of you who know baseball. somebody who's got a lot of tools and multitasks. it is creating more good jobs, gives more americans a shot at opportunity and there are two big ways in which it does so.
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the farm bill lifts up our rural communities. over the past five years thanks to the hard work and know-how of america's farmers, we have had the strongest stretch of farm exports in our history. when i am traveling around the world, i am promoting american agriculture and as a consequence, we are selling more stuff to more people than ever before. it supports one million jobs, what we grow here and what we sell. it is a huge boost to the entire economy but especially the rural economy. here at michigan state you're helping us to do more. i just got a tour of a facility where you are working with local businesses to produce renewable fuels. you're helping farmers group cops that are healthier and more resistant to disease. some students are raising their own piglets on an organic farm. when i was in college i lived in a pigsty.
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i did not work in one. i am impressed by that. [laughter] that is no joke, by the way. [laughter] your hygiene improves as you get older. so we are seeing some big advances in american agriculture and today i am directing my administration to launch a new maiden role america initiative to help more rural businesses expand and hire and some were product stamped made in the usa to the rest of the world because we have great products here that need to be sold and we can do even more to sell around the world. [applause] but even with all this progress, too many rural americans are still struggling. right now, 85% of counties experience what is called
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persistent poverty. in rural areas. before i was elected i represented illinois, home of a couple of your big ten rivals but also a big farming state. over the years, i have seen how hard it can be to be a farmer. there are a lot of big producers who are doing really well but there are even more small farms, family farms where folks are scratching out a living. and increasingly vulnerable to difficulties in financing and all the inputs involved. farmers sometimes having to work off the farm. they have got a couple of jobs outside the farm just to get health care to pay the bills, trying to keep it in the family, it is hard for young farmers to get started. and in these rural communities, a lot of young people talk about how jobs are so scarce even before the recession hit that
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they feel like they have to leave in order to have opportunity. they cannot stay at home. they have to leave. that is why this farm bill includes things like crop insurance so that when a disaster like the record drought we are seeing across much of the west hits our farmers, they do not lose her thing they have worked so hard to build. it invests in hospitals and schools, affordable housing, broadband infrastructure, all the things that help attract more businesses and make life easier for working families. this bill supports businesses working to develop cutting-edge biofuels like some of the work that is being done here. that has potential to create jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. it boosts conservation efforts so that our children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy places like the mississippi river valley and chesapeake bay. it supports local food by investing in things like farmers markets and organic agriculture which is making my wife very happy. when michelle is happy, i do not
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know about everybody being happy but i know i am happy. [laughter] [applause] and so it is giving smaller producers, local reducers, folks like ben the opportunity to sell more of their products directly without a bunch of processing and middlemen that make it harder for them to achieve. people will have healthier diets which will reduce the incidence of childhood obesity and keep us healthier and saves money. this does it while reforming our agricultural programs. whether they were planning crops are not. it saves taxpayers hard-earned dollars. it is not just automatic. the first thing this farm bill does, it helps rural communities grow and gives farmers some certainty.
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it puts in place important reforms. the second thing this farm bill does that is huge that make sure that america's children do not go hungry. this is where debbie's work was really important. one study shows that more than half of all americans will experience poverty at some point during their adult lives. for most folks, that is when you are young and you are eating ramen all the time. for some families it is a crisis hits, you lose your job, somebody gets sick, strains on your budget, you have a strong work ethic but it might take you six months, nine months, year to find a job. in the meantime, you have got families to feed.
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that is why for half a century this country has helped americans put food on the table when they hit a rough patch. or when they are working hard and are not making enough money to feed their kids. they are not looking for a handout. they're looking for a hand up. a bridge to help get them through tough times. we sure do not believe that children should be punished when parents are having a tough time. as a country we're stronger when we get families back on their feet. that is the idea behind what is known as the supplemental nutrition assistance program or snap. a large majority of recipients are children or the elderly or americans with disabilities. a lot of others are hard-working americans who need just a little
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help feeding their families while they look for job or they're trying to find a better one. in 2012 the snap program kept nearly 5 million people including more than 2 million children out of poverty. think about that. 5 million people. [applause] that is why my position has been that any bill i sign must protect families. this bill does that. ur.
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>> we are very fortunate to be hosting three acres love just returned from i hope -- three speakers who have just returned from a trip to israel. the trip was sponsored by the foundation for middle east peace. for those of you are not familiar, it was established in 1999 to promote -- 1979 to promote a solution to the conflict. the president led the trip. and aing board chairman board member arthur hughes. they have decades and decades of experience working on this very thorny issue of the crisis. we are hoping to hear some revelations today. their trip to the region comes at an interesting time. secretary kerry is making very dogged efforts to keep the peace process going. on their trip, they got a better
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sense of where things are. progress is being made. we look forward to hearing her observations. briefly, because their bios are in your handouts, one of the guests has served as assistant director to affairs in egypt in tel aviv. he has held many posts in the state department. he was the director general of the egyptian multinational effort. theone of our guest was general consul to jerusalem. their time is short. , have invited another person an arab-israeli expert, jeff aronson. does the monthly report on israeli settlements. he will respond to speakers and pose a few questions -- thank
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you for your time. it is a real privilege to have you here. before we get started, i want to knowledge another person who is coming soon. george salem. he's a board member. he has been very active in washington circles. he had advocated a solution to the conflict. foundationem family has made it this is our sixth panel in the series and i just want to st. george for her support. i inviteurther ado, the professor to the podium. [applause] thank you. looking at my friends in the oneonta reminds me that we had been involved in this peace 10 one since kilometer
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and september 1973. it doesn't get any easier. we believe this would be a good time to visit the area and try to understand the situation on the ground. i will give a brief overview. we spend four days in jerusalem, two in tel aviv during which we met with a variety of americans, israelis, and palestinians. for the most part, unofficial, but very knowledgeable. the off the record personal attack by the israeli defense secretary of state john kerry provided the background for those few days. he brought for lunch with the faculty.
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we met one-on-one and with groups. it was a fascinating, intensive week. during the first part of the a dearth ofwas details or even informed speculation on what specifically john kerry had in mind. they took seriously his request that they keep the discussion secret. however, there was a general assumption that his ultimate would be based on the so-called clinton parameters. the general view was that john kerry would fail, netanyahu would not risk his position or his government by putting forward compromise proposals.
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there.h optimism the one senior plo official was openly frustrated that they were the only ones who knew what was going on. they were pushing for palestinian plan b, go back to he u.n. in the context of ignorance, much context can be paid to personality.f his would he stay the course? would obama support him? later in the week, several that impacted on the nature of our discussions in tel aviv with israelis.
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tom friedman wrote his op-ed in the new york times purporting to framework --rry kerry free mark. then netanyahu and the settlor -- they had ainet separation of the palestinian .tate quoted as telling u.s. jewish leaders that the bulk of the settlers would remain in israel in any settlement. one culmination of this combination of fact is is that they began to wonder if perhaps
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netanyahu might be willing to take some political risks. we did not have the opportunity to discuss these events with palestinians. of products produced , those ads for you super bowl fans, and the disinvestment of banks operating was allettlements, it having an impact on the israeli .ublic and on the body politic john kerry's warning about the possibility for isolation helped bring this pot to a boil. tom friedman reporting from ramallah dedicated to this
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.ubject angela merkel is considered israel's best friend in europe and will be important in this respect. for the millions of israeli jews, this is the bustling part .f the israeli economy there are serious problems that by a law.solved a quick word about the broader picture. israel's treaty with egypt and jordan are holding firm. they appreciate egypt's efforts control the militants through
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the sinai. it seemed to be missing or at least they are invisible factors in the current equation. jordan has an obvious interest in jerusalem which has its own special set of problems. the treaties are in good shape. politically, economically, dwarfsily, a giant among . it looks like a good time to make peace from a position of pipeace.ble
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>> i'm not exactly been a beacon of optimism in recent years terrible one this hundred-year-old conflict. that this week i have sensed a ray of hope. it is because of john kerry's diplomacy which coincides with other trends that may just lead to a way out of this tragedy. israel's secular elite are to speak out and be more conscious of the threats facing the state of israel. for the first time, they have begun to do something about it. that coincides with what looks
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like a revival of the liberal, pragmatic, peace minded countries. the labour party has shifted from reluctance to even mention the territorial issue, the future of the security, but they are doing so now. john kerry has energized a between the israeli center and left. it does not represent the citizens asisraeli they have taken the lead and .eized the initiative the polls show 74% of the israeli people and indeed the palestinian people still want a peace. state
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the problem is they do not think it is possible. john kerry's diplomacy is beginning to arouse hopes for peace. perhaps more on the israeli side than the palestinian because they are still in deep despair but they are sticking to the .olicy of nonviolence public rhetoric, abbas has been far more conciliatory than benjamin netanyahu and his colleagues. ,he threat of sanctions especially the european union sanctions on all european union , havee and public flows
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had a real effect in that has shocked the business community. calledve created a group breaking the impasse? there is also the israeli peace .nitiative it is at stake and that is an important development. they have been satisfied to remain and make money. the u.s. debate, which is especially important, no less so than israel and palestine. you will read today in "the new the illustrious
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tom friedman things they would not have said two or three years ago. discussbeginning to more frankly and candidly this problem. it has been important in this more candid public dialogue in this country. organized jewish, christian, arab, and american communities are speaking out and there is a profound change in those communities. packed -- it was a that seen as the group supported the policies of the government of israel. pac hast months ai suffered in the congress.
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that is the historic development because it has not been since the battle in ronald reagan's arrow that an american administration has decisively aipac initiative. we have seen a rise of a much more articulate and determine tom a well organized liberal and moderate jewish community. aipac, the work of americans for peace now and many others are making a difference. aipac?ay i meant j street. and are making an impact
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the doors are increasingly in the whitem house and the media and that is a sign of change. especially the young american jewish community is staunchly supportive of israel in very critical of israeli policy. they are mobilizing and slowly having an impact on congress although i expect congress may be the last to become peacemakers. security a leotard speaking out. security chief s and prominent retired generals, these are people of the highest prestige and they are beginning to tell the truth about this conflict. i think that is a real sign of change in israel. perhaps most important of all has been john kerry's position.
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he has been determined and allowed a process of bilateral coordination to go forward, i think, in an effort to give the to do itne last chance by themselves. it has failed and he is engaging in what i think is the next un-americanat is framework. that is an american framework. don't know when we shall see. i am hoping it will be more specific and it will transfer the debate to an american proposal which will be it i believe, evenhanded reflecting the fundamental interest of both israel and palestine.
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that is galvanizing debate already and that's a good thing. divisiveot seen such a by such secretary of state since the days of jim bakker. we have not seen an american peace plan and united states for some years now that has been reluctant to describe its own policies on issues like jerusalem borders, security, refugees. think, weakened our national security interests and theirs as well. it's a good thing. there will be no quick solution. this conflict is an ancient one. settlement and expansion is deeply embedded and to remove it would transform the state of israel in many ways. it is still possible and we
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sense that possibility in talking to many israelis. they are less optimistic but they are also resilient people with very impressive human resources. i'm convinced if there is an act to have process led by the united states, both sides will that theye desperately lack now that this would lead the way. energy,e with u.s. persistence, and leadership leading to a breakthrough in this terrible conflict. and to a reinforcement of american interests, american leadership, which is in trouble in the region and to rescue these two parties from a terrible future. thank you. [applause]
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>> thank you all for coming today. rounds, we hear very often, "isaiah told martin martin," we told knew we were talking to the right people. what did martin say to you? not much. he was asking questions which is also a good sign. i should mention here that i think this is the most serious u.s. effort since the first camp david when jimmy carter was president. the most serious, the best prepared, the most intellectually strong and at the risk of offending some of my friends who were out that the
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the secondho were at camp david, i think it's a serious effort, the most serious, and maybe for a good while, it is seen as the last best chance. this is the last best chance. what i want to do is give you my impressions and try to tie them and looka little bit at the specific things we can address in the question and answer time. the impact of what john kerry is up theis shaking ou situation. they laughed and they were dispirited, disorganized, and you remember the last israeli election. it was not on peace issues. the right a sickly had a free ride. minority andt a
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there was something lost in those elections, as we all know. he settlement expansion continues. of palestinian jews to the green line continue. the barrier had resulted in .arriers the netanyahu government and others were able to this are president, which irritated me -- able to dis our president. in israel, wens have one. we've defeated the president of the united states, which i thought was bad for israel and bad for the united states. now that the john kerry initiative is shaking things up and people are being pressed, they know that i think it is clear that he will not give up
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and the president's inclusion in the state of the union was a short paragraph with senator chuck schumer is taking credit for, i am told. even more important is what he is reporting yesterday morning which i found out in the israeli press and not the american press, interestingly enough. john kerry for his diplomacy, his passion, and i think it will help this further to dispel that the president was holding back and waiting to see. success will have many fathers. i never really believed this from what i knew and discussions i had had with some of the team, but i think what he said yesterday will further absolutely dispel that notion. it is clear then that israeli and palestinian leadership i
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pressed to make decisions. often ourwe hear very courage and guts. when they will come into play, i frankly don't know. said in anrzog interview the other day, this will require a basic decision that will change things remarkably both in israel and a new state of palestine if that comes about. now, on the right, as i said, disarray. they don't quite know how to act. amongst eachering other. prime minister netanyahu basically told the cabinet to to live. in normal israeli fashion, they ignored. it's always a very vigorous discussion, to their credit. i enjoyed it when i lived there for three years and when i was
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going there four or five times year when i was the director much thei enjoyed very fact that it was like madeline and i had some close israeli friends and i could get the whole scope of the by going to dinner with the two of them because they would cover both sides of the argument. one part of the couple would argue laughed in the other would argue right so i did not have to spend a lot of time going around talking to other people. i don't think there's any indication that he would use it that therelot, too, were between 75-80 votes, 120 in to veryould go seriously enter negotiations with the palestinians on a peace deal.
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the new leader of the labor partner says -- party says he peace talks now. a lot of pessimism and not knowing what's going on. we have heard people say that would reallyabbas know what's going on. they are not telling others what is happening. i think they are being very cautious because they know if there is much being said publicly about where they might go on these issues, they will face very serious difficulties because there is no good solution from the palestinian perspective on right of return. that's my view. they are being very careful. president abbas is being very very positive, constructive. the long interview with al
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kirschner and tom friedman, he played the role of a statesman, ,oderate, said what he expected and i think that's what he believes as well, what i know from being out there on the ground. and he is giving the role of being the heavy after he met with kerry a week and a half ago. where now? we are at the moment of truth yet. maybe a preliminary. i'm not sure what secretary kerry's going to put on the table regarding a framework, but my own view, and i'm not sure if my colleagues agree with me, but there will be enough space in the framework that it is very hard for either side to want to disengage. take neither side wants to
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lame for the collapse of this effort. for their own domestic reasons and for the u.s. reasons. indicated, prime minister netanyahu is in a different position here after having won the first round. he has not won this round. it is not only the elements going on in israel but here in that ared states burdening. a statement issued that now is not the time to pursue any additional sanctions on iran and chairman menendez issued a statement shortly before that that it was coordinated and it would not surprise me. it is the dynamic of change and he will have to be very much more carefully and that's all
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good, as an american. as an american who believes that this is the best possible outcome, i think that is all the good as well. two quick things, one on security. i spent a lot of time dealing with security not only when i was at defense when israel was and then the him a-egypt he's keeping lot about defense and what they could do in the context of two- state solutions. but i understand general allen and secretary kerry came up with is a working solution that would come up with the required security to i enter into an agreement for the jordan valley. three years, egypt and israel. they talked about five.
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has not been talked about much in the press and that is the nature of the peacekeeping operation. this would not be one that would be responsible only for monitoring and verification but would need a very robust mandate that would allow them to intercept, arrest, suppress, a really tough mandate. i think the united states and nato forces could accept the kind of mandate. the other thing, very quickly, i was involved in what was known as the canadian initiative that produced a well considered and well thought out plan option for special regime, one created by israel and palestine that would not the imposed nor would it be internationalization, one of the
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old discredited ideas. if anyone wants to blow up the a real rupture. hereuld be to do something and i'm sure the parties are keeping a very careful eye on that. where are we now? the parties are being challenged and they are going to have to make some decisions because i'm convinced that secretary kerry and the president will not back away from this. as i said, we heard the words courage and guts a lot when we were out there. whether or not we will see them, i don't know. i feel better now having been there than i felt before we went about the prospect. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you, gentlemen, for an
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interesting and well-informed overview of current events in that part of the world. we have about a half hour now which i will open for questions in a minute. i would just like to make an observation here that i hope will stimulate a response from one of you. , weng the annapolis talks there was serious engagement on a bilateral basis israeli and palestinian negotiators. this was a dialogue that the energy for which was present on both sides. it seems from the outside in contrast that the discussions over the last nine months have essentially been bilateral discussions between one of the parties and the united states rather than between the
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parties themselves. each party, each of the principal parties have been most interested to win the u.s. over to its view of things rather than negotiate among themselves to try to find points of agreement. observations, at what stage would you see the beginning of a truly bilateral thegement, perhaps along lines most recently expressed during the annapolis era and certainly before? a u.s.we going to see role as absolutely vital orchestrating discussions that are between the u.s. and each party without essentially interaction between the parties? and enhanced view of proximity
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talks, if you will. then i will open it up. i think you want them to stand up and appear here? is that right? so i will stand aside. >> nations generally make peace when they believe they have a shared interest in peace. i'm not persuaded that the current israeli coalition under benjamin netanyahu believes that withhave a common interest the palestinians in making peace. i believe their interest lies in dominating, controlling permanently the land which some of them feel is sacred jewish land which others want to dominate for ideological
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reasons. i think the parties will continue to try to negotiate with the united states instead of each other until there is a change in the israeli government. the change would not necessarily throw ofver benjamin netanyahu. he has a long history and he is also known as a politician who will grasp at opportunities to enhance his own leadership. there is talk in israel now that there are well over 61 mandates that would support a .omprehensive peace agreement it is not our question that it might happen, that there would be a shakeup in the current
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coalition, a shedding of one of dedicated and extremist political parties and to bring , or both, toparty create a new, different, moderate centrist peace minded government. thinkt were the case, i the israeli government and the palestinian government would take a lot more interest in negotiating between themselves. import and middle east negotiations, there has been the commonality of interest. there is not right now, but there could be. that's the way i see it. >> i think once the john kerry framework is made public, the idea would be that the
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israelisans and would engage bilaterally. i also believe that it would break down, at least in the initial stages, and it would touire an american presence give proposals and what have you. i don't think we are going to see the americans backing off, nor should they. >> it's often said that they cannot do it themselves but their are also those who say they do it best when the americans get out. i don't think they can do it themselves. there are certain things they have to do themselves when it comes down to some of the fine points of negotiations, if they ever get there, but i think the u.s. has got to be there. a question.ake
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yes, upfront. you have a microphone coming to you. perhaps he could stand up and make it easier? >> thank you, mike quincy. you talked about the shift in .srael with the united states a major stumbling block is hamas in gaza. you do have a chance to talk to any of these people to see if they would change their position to stop blocking? weather that has changed, whether that would be the major block? you what theell hamas attitudes are, but from what we have been told by ,alestinians on the left bank gaza is a rather disillusioned. that theest strongly
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attitudes of the public would be reflective of the general attitudes in the west bank. referendumyou have a on a peace plan that gaza would reflect the views of the west .ank if it's reasonable, let's get the israelis off our backs. these people are living in an open air prison. i don't know how else to describe it. maybe that is a hopeful and unrealistic feeling, but that is what they've told us. on the question of palestinian attitudes expressed in a referendum, i think people are reasonably certain that a good
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majority of palestinians would support a two states dilution -- solution is negotiated by their leader. that does not necessarily include the refugees who live outside of the west bank. are they going to be included? how theyty hard to see could, but nevertheless, these are things they are going to have to work out. right now, what you have is the west bank first negotiation. my personal view is we should have been trying to do this years ago to come up with something good enough to attract gaza. i hope that's what happens this time. permanent think a viable peace could be possible
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nor could a wholesome, viable palestinian state could come to be if it is cut off from the other part of palestine and cut off from the sea. hamas is a political party. if there is an emerging peace agreement supported by the palestinian authority and the i ame of the west bank, certain that hamas would have no choice. they would have to supported it for fear of losing whatever constituency they have retained in their constituency today is weaning. hamas, yes, is an obstacle. they will make trouble if john kerry's initiative proceeds, which i think they will, but in the end they will have to yield because they are the minority and they would stand in the way
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of the rescue of the palestinian people and the emergence of a palestinian state. agree, given what has happened in egypt, it's hard to see that hamas would have any other realistic option under a circumstance in which there was real progress towards a palestinian state. >> yassir? sir?s >> i would like you all to discuss a little bit what you have been seeing and hearing with what's happening in the united states and so forth on iran, syria, egypt, the big picture? you think obama might have in mind by pushing hard against what is the real, quite
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, nuclear where iran must have the highest priority? >> i don't think the administration is ignoring iran. , if i as egypt and syria were back in government, i would first ask the question, what can tosefully do in egypt promote freedom of expression, for example. the 18 journalists who are being crimes of for various disagreeing with the military in egypt.
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in syria, can you do anything else besides [inaudible] and then i would conclude that there's not much else i can do except in the humanitarian field in syria. in palestine and israel, there is something i can do. therefore, i really applaud the john kerry initiative and they hope the president carries it out. it does not mean you will ignore the rest of the world out there but there's only so much you can do. here, you can have a major impact. back from thek nuclear program. >> i agree that the u.s. has a
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vastly closer relationship with the israelis and the palestinians and a much larger capacity to use american diplomacy's to solve their conflict. we like that knowledge and lack that egypt -- we knowledge and ability in syria. i think the resolution of the iranian nuclear issue would lift a burden of fear from the israeli public and i think the israeli public does support a negotiated solution and not a new war. it's very interesting that the most prestigious and retired military people, retired mossad officers, say the war between israel and syria would be crazy and they were between the u.s. and syria would cause -- between iran and the united states,
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would bring nothing but further grief. capable given our past history, being helpful with israel and palestine. we have shown that in the last 50 years of conflict. if we persevere, if we are strong and patient, we can prevail. we need to have a little more confidence in our own country to do this. >> i would like to hear some comment on what tom friedman the tightening of the
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in theand israel negotiations. to address that to some extent. i don't know how many of you have had the experience of watching this incredible in theange, interaction media and the government. it's not something i've experienced in any other country. it was there but largely ignored .ntil rather recently several developments which w